OAKLAND — Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers has been busy taking flights across the country and overseas, meeting with players and agents and talking to other NBA executives ahead of next week’s draft.
While that’s not out of the ordinary for most teams, the Warriors are operating under a different set of circumstances. They have no picks because of prior trades and are already squeezed for salary cap space.
Of course, that could all change with one move by Myers.
“We treated the scouting season as if we did have a pick because you never know what’s going to happen the night of the draft,” Myers said Wednesday, speaking to a small group of reporters at the team’s downtown Oakland headquarters.
Myers and members of his staff attended draft camps in New York and Minnesota along with workouts organized by players’ agents in Los Angeles. He even took a two-day trip to Italy.
Time with players has been more difficult for the Warriors this year because agents are typically less willing to allow clients to visit teams that don’t have a pick — something Myers knows and understands as a former agent. Instead, Myers relied more on seeing players multiple times throughout the season in games than during any 1-on-1 workout.
The second-year general manager also has taken the extra time to talk to agents and other team executives to gauge what might go down on draft night and free agency.
“I think one thing our organization has become strong in is information,” Myers said. “Whether it’s relationships with other teams or agents, having information of what’s going on outside of your organization is important, and we work hard to cultivate those kinds of relationships and keep them in a positive way so we have the best thing of knowing what’s going on. The worst thing in free agency is getting surprised. Even if you don’t like the answers you’re getting, at least you’re getting answers.”
Even though the Warriors are without a draft pick now, owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have given the general manager the financial backing to buy picks before.
The Warriors paid Charlotte $2 million in a surprising decision to move up in the second round and select Jeremy Tyler 39th overall in 2011. Myers also was plenty busy last June, when the Warriors selected three players — Harrison Barnes (seventh), Festus Ezeli (30th) and Draymond Green (35th) — who turned into immediate contributors, plus Ognjen Kuzmic (52nd) of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“What do they say, ‘Past performance doesn’t predict future results?’” Myers said. “But in this case it might be right.”
If Myers makes a move to acquire a pick, it will likely be a second rounder. First-round picks come with guaranteed contracts, which can be riskier and costlier — not to mention the Warriors would likely have to give up a valuable player to acquire one.
Myers would prefer to find a way to get a pick because rookie salaries are inexpensive and the risk-reward factor is far more favorable. However, he said, “We’re not desperate to get one.”
There are other factors that could impact Myers’ decision, too.
Ezeli will likely be sidelined a minimum of six to nine months after right knee surgery last week, meaning finding another backup center has become a pressing need. Myers confirmed Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush have all opted into the final year of their contracts, as expected, tying up salary space in free agency.
Carl Landry has until June 26 — the day before the draft — to decide whether to opt out of the final year of his two-year, $8 million deal. While Landry is expected to become a free agent, Myers said he has not been informed of a final decision and expects he won’t until the day the decision has to be made. Jarrett Jack also will be a free agent, and how much he commands might not be known until mid-July.
And everything the Warriors do this season is with 2014 in mind.
The team has about $38 million in contracts coming off the books next June — mostly the contracts of Biedrins and Jefferson — and could be a major player in a free-agent class that will likely include LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, among several other notable All-Stars.
NOTES: Myers said All-Star PF David Lee is expected to be ready by training camp after surgery to repair a torn right hip flexor. … Myers has had informal discussions with Mark Jackson’s agent, Arn Tellem, about a contract extension for the coach. Jackson’s team option for the 2014-15 season has not been picked up yet. Tellem was Myers’ long-time mentor at the Wasserman Media Group. “The best thing is I think all the parties involved feel good,” Myers said.